Nadifa Mohamed is a new writer with a sparkling debut on offer. Black Mamba Boy (2010) is set in 1930s Somalia and is based on the story of Nadifa's own father. The book’s context of war and upheaval is all the more moving given that it is seen – in all its harshness and cruelty – through the eyes of children. It has been reviewed by Arifa Akbar in the Independent: ‘In its best, most moving moments, Mohamed portrays, from a child's eye view, both the loneliness and camaraderie of street children like Jama, whose friendships become almost as sustaining as food and water in this scorched and famished land.’
Watch Nadifa talk about the inspiration behind her work, or listen to her on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour.
Black Mamba Boy was in the running for our inaugural Readers’ First Book Award in 2010. Each year, every one of the debut novels, novellas and short story collections appearing in our adult programme is entered into our First Book Award, and the winner is chosen by a public vote enabling readers to champion new fiction by voting for their favourite. Details of which authors are in the running for the award each year are announced here on our website when the Book Festival programme is launched in June.